Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sermon December 31, 2011 - January 1, 2012

Title: Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

Text: Luke 2:21 (ESV)

21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The naming of a child is an important time and wonderful joy in the life of a family. The name can have a great significance and family heritage. It can be connected to the past and to the future, as with those names that have a Jr. or III (the third) connected to them.

My youngest brother Tom when he was very little asked my mom, “Why didn’t you name me after Grandpa?” My mom said, “Oh, did you want to be called Stephen?” “No,” he said, “I wanted to be called Grandpa.”

The naming of a child carries with it much significance, as does …

Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

After the birth of John the Baptist in the previous chapter in the Gospel of Luke we read:

Luke 1:59-66 (ESV)

59And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60but his mother answered, "No; he shall be called John." 61And they said to her, "None of your relatives is called by this name." 62And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What then will this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him.

The naming of the child had then, as it does in many cases now, a connection to family. John was not a name that had significance in the lives of Zechariah and Elizabeth until the visit of the angel Gabriel. Mary too was also given the name of Jesus by divine intervention.

This name which means the Lord who saves is in fact His mission. He who was “in the beginning with God” is now and for all time God with us. The children of Israel in the time of the Exodus had God and the promise of freedom from the slavery in Egypt. But still they grumbled.

In the book of Numbers we read:

4Why have you brought the assembly of the LORD into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? 5And why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink." Num. 20:4-5

11And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock.

They drank from the Rock in the desert.

St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians:

1For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3and all ate the same spiritual food, 4and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 1 Cor.1:1-4

Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

5Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

We too fail to see the blessing in the name of God. You and I misuse the name of the Lord so how are we better than those who doubted God’s word through Moses? We aren’t.

God, whose love for you is so profound that He would join Himself to human flesh is in today’s Gospel receiving the mark of circumcision, the mark of the covenant between God and man; the mark placed upon the very God/man Jesus Christ who is also receiving His name today.

Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

Every moment after the incarnation, Jesus draws one step closer to completing our redemption. Every act, in the life of Jesus, is God’s action in the fulfillment of His promise for you. His circumcision and naming today are the beginning of the end for the power of sin, the corruption of the flesh and the tempting of the Devil. Jesus, by His perfect obedience to the Law will by this obedience complete the requirements of the Law for you. By the name of Jesus He will save His people from their sin. God has a name!

Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

God too, by the power of His spirit, gives you faith to believe this blessed good news.
The Epistle lesson today is worth repeating:

23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.29And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.

As Luther once said:

“All we who believe on Christ are kings and priests in Christ.”
― Martin Luther, Concerning Christian Liberty - Martin Luther

Today, as you look forward to all that is new upon us as we begin another New Year remember that Jesus came to earth for you. Jesus became man for you. Jesus was marked at his circumcision for you. Jesus fulfilled the Law for you and has suffered and died on the cross for you and was raised for your justification so that you will rise too …
and He lives to intercede by the power of the Holy Spirit for you.

Jesus; the blessed name of our blessed Lord!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

No comments:

Post a Comment